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Bad News Bond

Emily Flake

By Mink Stole | Posted 3/16/2005

Iíve been married for six years to a really good guy. Heís smart, dependable, and steady, he treats me well, and all in all we have a good life together, at least as far as it goes. Where it doesnít go is anywhere exciting. I do love my husband, but Iím so bored. Even though we have no kids and are only in our early 30s, he never wants to go out or do anything. His idea of a great time is Bruce Willis videos and stuffed-crust pizza. I didnít realize how restless I was getting until I started talking to this man at work. He tells me about all the fun stuff he does, spending his weekends hiking in the mountains or scuba diving. He also goes to movies and plays and restaurants. Heís divorced, and I know heís dated quite a few women, but since weíve become friendly heís all I think about. I know heís attracted to me, too, and heís hinted quite broadly that if I ever wanted heíd be open to getting to know me better, if you know what I mean. My brain says Iíd be an idiot to get involved with him, but my adventure-starved heart tells me Iíd be an idiot not to. Am I terrible to be so tempted? What should I do?

Wanda Wants More

Your heart may be seeking new experiences, WWM, but even stronger cravings are coming from another part of your anatomy, 18 inches or so farther south. Conventional wisdom might have it that a genitally induced lack of judgment is primarily a male characteristic, but women can be just as stupid when their nether parts get twitchy. Of course this man is attractive; in contrast to your couch-hugging husband, heís as dazzling as Sean Conneryís James Bond, and potentially just as dangerous. Granted, your life lacks flash, dash, and sparkle, and youíd hardly be human if you werenít tempted, but this guyís a bad risk. Getting mixed up with him could not only fuck up your marriage but also make things very awkward at work.

Before you trash what you have, try injecting some excitement into your life on your own. If you want to scuba dive, take lessons; thereís probably a Y near your house that gives them. Join a hiking club. Sign up for some white-water rafting. If your husband isnít interested, go alone; youíre a grownup. It is, however, completely possible that whatever enthusiasm you develop for an activity would inspire him to want to join you. Getting ideas from this other guy for picking up the sag in your own life is fine; expecting him to be your permanent activities director could lead to a serious letdown.

 

Iím 23 and I recently was seeing a guy, also 23. For a few weeks things were incredible. From almost the first time we met it seemed perfectly natural to spend as much time together as we could, and we had started talking about his moving in with me, not just whether he would but when. Before we made any definite arrangements, though, I had to go out of town on business, and I was going to be gone for about four weeks. He acted like he had no problem with it, but as we got closer to my departure date he started getting weird, drinking too much, and getting mad. He always apologized right away, but then two nights before I left he got drunk and accused me of flirting with other guys, which was not true. We didnít speak again until after I left town, when I called to say hello. He was cool and distant, and when I asked him if he was still mad he said yes, but that he couldnít talk and would call me. He never did. Looking back, I realize that Iím probably better off without him, especially since his drinking was becoming a big problem, but Iím confused. I just donít understand how something that seemed so good could turn bad so fast. If he really cared about me, how could it be so easy for him to let me go?

Just Wondering

There are so many reasons relationships crap out, JW, that the real wonder is that any ever work. Any number of things could have sabotaged you. This guy may have had an expiration date on his new-relationship best behavior, and once that was reached he reverted to an innate jerkiness you couldnít have suspected. Or maybe heís one of those people with an extremely limited emotional vocabulary. They know when they feel bad, but they canít articulate quite how, and the only response to it theyíre comfortable with is anger. Or he may have felt so threatened by your leaving town even for a short time that he had to manipulate the situation in order to claim responsibility for the separation. In other words, you couldnít leave him because he pushed you away first. Or it could be something as simple and awful as he just stopped liking you.

It is galling when someone not really good enough for you has the nerve to dump you first, but guys (and gals) who drink and get mad make lousy mates, so regardless of who initiated it and why, this breakup might just have spared you a lifetime of Al-Anon.

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